St. Thomas Aquinas tells us that Jesus instituted the Sacrament of Confirmation by promising it: “If I go not, the Paraclete will not come to you, but if I go, I will send Him to you.” The Sending of the Spirit upon the Church at Pentecost is the Confirmation of the Apostles and disciples. They are filled with the fullness of the Holy Spirit and empowered to preach and to witness to Jesus even in the midst of great danger. They are made soldiers of Jesus Christ!
As we open our hearts today to receive this new Outpouring of the Holy Spirit, we can never forget that those who have received the Sacrament of Confirmation have likewise been clothed with Power from on high. We also have received the Spirit, Who empowers us to be His witnesses to the ends of the earth, even in the face of persecution and suffering. With this fullness of the Holy Spirit, we have received a new sacramental character, a new sharing in the priesthood of Jesus, which gives us the power publicly to profess the faith so as to defend the faith and to bring others to Jesus.
The Descent of the Holy Spirit is not just an event of the past. This same boldness is ours in Confirmation. We are clothed with the same Power for the same mission, according to our state in life. We are sent to preach the Gospel and to witness to Jesus. Jesus expects us to be fruitful in the Spirit. He desires with great zeal to set the world on fire with His Love. St. Peter converted 3,000 people on the day of his Confirmation. How many have I converted in the years since mine?
The mystery of Pentecost is the revelation of Divine Love. The Holy Spirit has been poured into our hearts and we are made one with Jesus Christ. We are now an extension of Him. Just as Jesus’s soul was entirely under the sway of the Spirit, we now give our souls to this same Power from on high. The Holy Spirit is the Uncreated Soul of the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ. Jesus is alive! He sends us! Veni, Sancte Spiritus! Veni per Mariam! Veni in Ecclesiam!
Fr Joseph Previtali